Promises

I am secretly an introvert so going to after work events is a big deal for me. I really love the J4 Leaders group and decided that it was worth standing between me and my yoga pants. Of course, as always I was glad I went. 

The theme for this year is promises. Specifically God’s promises. Lisa, who runs the group shared her wisdom and then gave each of us mats with the words promise of God for us to stand on. It might seem a little hokey, but I kinda love it. 

  
The mat is made so we can write on it. 

As I think back over the past year, I can claim many of God’s promises in my life and this is a great reminder. Things like God’s promise never to leave me or forsake me, and His promise to supply all of my needs. 

I look forward to this year and standing on the promises of God. 

Drama

I was telling my daughter about this Christian author I sort of follow on Facebook. A couple of years ago I was part of a bible study with one of her books. The group consensus was that they loved her book and she was so relatable. I struggled to get through the book. 

Our conversation was centered around people who are whiny about everything. The author on the surface has a husband who loves her, well behaved kids, and a pretty decent following on her blogs and books yet she never seems satisfied. I wondered what the appeal of her rants and repents and advice around both were until I looked at my Facebook feed. 

Several of my friends seem to have terrible lives. They are are always struggling and never happy. I feel bad for them. My husband refers to people like this as black cloud people. It seems like all the bad things happen to them. They are the 1 in 4 or 1 in 10 you hear about. 

I have to wonder though how much of it is about perspective. There are days when it seems like everything is going wrong. I can allow myself to get mad and complain or I can figure out how to deal with my circumstances and move forward. I will admit I do have some drama moments, but I try not to play them out on Facebook every day. 

I find that being positive and looking for solutions gives me much better results than whining and being angry. 

2 sides

I was reading a couple of different commentary threads on giving to nonprofits and how much goes to overhead, salaries, and the end recipients. 

A couple of the threads were based on posts with inaccurate information. For example, it is not true that $0 of Goodwill donations go to programs. In Central Florida and across the country Goodwill puts people in job training programs and gets them jobs every day. I gladly give to Goodwill. 

It is also reported that the CEO of Ronald McDonald Charities is not compensated. He may not be, or maybe he is paid by the McDonalds corporation. Several chapters I looked at had 6 figure CEOs. Honestly, I think having a decent salary is fine. Having excessive salaries and little results is not fine. 

There was criticism for glossy printing. In order to stand out, charities have to spend money to tell their story. If they do things on the cheap, they are criticized for not being professional enough. 

We outsource some of our most challenging social issues to nonprofits and say we want them to act like businesses, but then we criticize them when they do. 

Nonprofits tend to pay less and expect more from their employees. Many times their finances have restrictions on them. Often the glossy annual report is donated. 

I encourage people to check out the charities they support. Volunteer, get involved, call the CEO and ask questions, visit. 

There are always 2 sides…

Staying Positive

I took my car in this morning and the super chipper service guy told me it would be just under $300 to fix the clunking in my steering wheel. Less than I thought, so it was almost good news. An hour later the same super chipper guy called back to let me know they wanted to fix something else and out the door it would be $1000. I told him we wouldn’t be doing that today. Fortunately, Eddie is super handy and can fix that issue. 

We lost our mail key after holding onto it for 12 years. When we finally chased down the mail person we found a letter telling us the infusion center Eddie goes to will be out of network on our insurance as of yesterday. We are asking for an in network extension and hoping that comes through. 

It is so easy to get discouraged especially when you are working hard to save for something and it seems like you have to keep taking a step back, but getting mad and frustrated doesn’t usually solve the problem (although taking it to Twitter sometimes does). I am determined not to let my temporary circumstances ruin my day. 

I have learned over the past couple of years that it is really easy for me to get stressed out and obsess about things. I have to actually take a step back and think about how to problem solve for the best outcome. Sometimes that means I just have to let things play out and wait. Easier said than done. 

My goal though, it to stay positive even when things get tough. 

Random Thoughts

As we start into 2016, I want to be more on purpose about writing. All day, I have tried to figure out what to write and nothing has come but random thoughts. 

I figured it couldn’t hurt to write a few. 

Today was our “chemo Saturday” which means Eddie is tired all day. I got to be lazy. Enjoyed watching a couple movies in bed. 

I am wondering if my cats will learn to enjoy their new cat tree. One out of 3 does. 

I love yoga pants. 

I hope my car doesn’t cost a fortune to fix when I take it in tomorrow, but I can’t deal with the noise and feel of the steering wheel. 

It might be time to take down the Christmas decorations…

It feels warm enough for the beach, but the water is too cold. 

Excited about planning a trip to Europe in the Spring. 

There is plenty of football on TV, but I don’t really care about any of these teams. 

I chose 8 charities to give $25 to on the 31st. That was kind of fun and I might do that again soon. I realized that most of the places I gave to with the exception of St. Jude’s and UM, I love the programs and the CEO’s. #relationshipsmatter. 

I love my new job. 

I am so glad to have my sister in town and had a great time with family over Christmas and New Years. 

I need to choose a church-I think. Enjoying visiting a few. 

Started the bible through the year- wonder how far I will get. 

I wish my hair would dry straight. 

This is all so random. Maybe tomorrow, I will have something more interesting to say 😎. 

Following Through

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

One of the things I have become pretty good at (not quite perfect, but I try) is following through on commitments. I always strive to get back to people and get things done as quickly as possible and to do what I say I am going to do. For me, it is easier to give an answer right away, make the phone call or schedule a date as soon as possible rather than leaving things in limbo or potentially forgetting.

One of the keys to following through, for me, is keeping a list. I use a style similar to the bullet journal which my sister introduced me to a year ago.  It is a homemade version of the Franklin Covey system.  Even though I have a good memory, I find that it is easy to get distracted and forget. Writing thinks on my to do list insures they get done.

Every morning, I go back through the previous day’s list to make sure that whatever is still hanging out there gets done. I find my biggest frustration is waiting on other people. In the age of email, texting, and other instant communications it is amazing to me how many people procrastinate and put things off. I understand people are busy. There are days when I have back to back meetings and I barely have time to breathe, but I can’t imagine every day is that way.

Getting in the habit of answering people right away has made my job actually easier.  If something does not have to get flagged for follow up or go on my to do list it is a win for me.  I used to have a saying posted on the wall in a retail store I managed that said something to the effect of…”If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it right?” The less touches I have to give something on my list, the better.

I want to encourage others to develop the habit of answering quickly and following through as soon as possible.  For those of us who organize events, this means don’t wait until the morning of the event to RSVP.  If you are waiting to see if something better will come along, well then…

People appreciate when you get back to them quickly. It shows them they are important and you care.

Life is Short, Focus on the Good

“Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.” – Unknown

Yesterday I couldn’t write. I have to admit I was a little nervous waiting to hear from my husband about the results of his medical tests. After 2 CT scans and an MRI to look at his appendix, we were playing the waiting game. The day before we has heard the sad news about Stuart Scott passing away from cancer which had started in his appendix. We really didn’t talk about it, we just waited, and I prayed. After news of colon cancer rocked our world last year, we take nothing for granted.

Very happily I can report that the tests all came back fine. An answer to prayer for sure. It is just another reminder though that life is short, and we need to cherish every minute of it.

I see so much negativity, drama, and hurt in the world. I make it a point to avoid it when I can and to be positive. Sometimes, though it is easy to get drawn in especially when someone hurts you or says something you disagree with. I have to be careful not to let it affect me. Recently, I have realized that a few things in my world do have the ability to take me down a path of bitterness if I am not aware of my reactions to what they have said or done, and my reaction to it.

We can choose how we react to a situation, and I am determined not to let the negativity of the world draw me in. Life is short, and I want to focus on the good.

All Things New

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day learning about my new job. It was a great meeting and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead. I know I should probably be a little nervous about the change and all of the giant goals ahead of me, but if I will be it has not hit me yet. There is so much to learn and so much to do. I am so excited about the direction of the organization and what the future holds.

Leaving your comfort zone can be difficult. I have loved the job I have had for nearly 8 years. Leaving the people and the environment I know is hard, but I also feel strongly that this was a season for all of us. I am also excited for the new director to come in and put her mark on Christian HELP.  Knowing that if God had a plan for me, He also had a plan for the organization has made it a little easier to let go.

Presentation1I keep seeing verse 43:19 from Isaiah. As I look to the future, the issues I will be working on with the team at the Commission and the community through collective impact are overwhelming. Homelessness is tragic and the wilderness needs to end for so many people who are suffering. As I drive to work each day, I pass by a homeless camp in the woods. I can see it from the road. I look forward to the day when we can offer the people who live in these tents a place to go that is more stable.

This is a new year with new challenges and new hope for the future. I am excited about what the future holds.

Letting Go…

It is not even noon and today has been a crazy day. Maybe it is because we ate chicken on New Year’s Day (a superstition), who knows.  My youngest got his driver’s license this morning, my middle child has strep- thank you Publix for free antibiotics, and my oldest is threatening to sleep in her car if her school does not fix her dorm situation. She ended up with the crazy, bully roommate who steals and breaks her stuff.

As a parent, I just want to fix everything. I want to make my daughter feel better. I want to shake someone at the school and ask them why they are acting helpless when they knew there was a big enough issue to put her in temporary housing until Dec 28. I want to be able to protect my son from crazy drivers out on the road. The lack of control I have in these situations makes me realize how much I need to let the control freak in me let go. I have actually made lots of progress on this over the years, but it still creeps up every now and then.

My husband has been a great mentor to me in this area. He has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and let me know that not every moment of my life has to have a plan, and I need to relax a bit and just let things happen on their own. As a parent, I have to let me kids succeed or fail on their own, and as a boss, I have to let my team learn and stretch so that they can grow. It is hard, but in the end it pays off.

So as a person who needs to “Let go, and let God”, the verse I am meditating on today is Proverbs 16:9 – “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

#Positive 2015

A new year has dawned on us and that symbolizes new beginnings. Like an imaginary line drawn in the sand, we are able to put old things behind us and look forward to what the future might hold.

This year for me means a new job and new challenges. I am not looking to put the old job behind me, but to build on who it has helped me to become. Rather than drawing that line in the sand, I want to cherish the good experiences and learn from the harder times. I believe it makes us better people, when we are constantly reflecting and improving.

This year my only resolution is to share more positivity. I am a positive person by nature and always strive to see the good in others and situations. This year I want to challenge myself (and you) to take it up a notch.

So for 2015, I encourage you:

To see others in a positive light- everyone has a story, try not to judge.
Be open minded- listen to someone you disagree with and try to understand their point of view.
Be present- listen intently, don’t be in a rush.
Go to places you love- for me, it is the beach.
Be with people you love- and be loving.
FORGIVE others.
Laugh more!
Give back.
Pay it forward.
Be kind to others, even when you don’t want to.

My favorite verse of scripture is Matthew 5:16- “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

This year, let your light shine a little brighter and be positive in 2015. It will help you in all of your relationship, including at work.

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